HOUSTON – UPDATE: As of August 19, Ashton Gardens had refunded the couple their money for the wedding.
Everything about the wedding planning seemed to be going smoothly until six months before the big day, when the father of the bride died suddenly.
Things went downhill from there.
Dee Dee Coby grew up in Lansing, Michigan. Her fiancé, Cory Wingo, is from Memphis, Tennessee. They met in 2015 in Houston, fell in love and began planning their wedding in early 2019.
The toughest decision, at first, might have been the wedding venue. They chose Ashton Gardens in West Harris County.
“It kinda brought tears to my eyes” walking inside, Coby said. “That was it. I called him immediately and I was like, ‘I found it! This is it!‘”
Coby’s father died in the fall of 2019. The following March, as everyone knows, a global pandemic prompted many changes. The couple rescheduled the wedding from April to September.
But the pandemic only got worse, and in June, Coby and Wingo realized a dream wedding in the fall was not in the cards.
Wingo suffers from an underlying health condition and so does the maid of honor and many immediate family members who live out of state.
“It was either we take the date or we lose our money,” Coby said of Ashton Garden’s response in June when she asked about her options. “I can’t even reschedule, so you’re not even meeting me in the middle.”
Coby and Wingo had no option but to move forward, or lose the money, they said. So they moved forward. They also mentioned in a June email to Ashton that they considered hiring an attorney.
More than a month later, on Monday morning, Coby and Wingo informed Ashton Gardens in an email that they had retained an attorney and planned to talk to the news. They added that many wedding VIPs suffered from underlying health conditions and would not be able to travel.
“We try to find the best answer possible for both parties, for them and for us,” Ashton Gardens owner Brad Schreiber told KPRC 2 in an interview late Monday afternoon. “If the industry just gave everybody their money back and canceled events, the industry, people in the industry, wouldn’t last very long.”
Schreiber said Ashton took good care of its hundreds of clients, and added that he hoped for more time to resolve the situation. He said he learned about the family’s underlying health conditions and other details on Monday.
“People know regular wedding planning is stressful,” Coby said. “Add a pandemic to that. And add the underlying health conditions.”
Coby understands that she probably will not be refunded the deposit, but she hopes that an arrangement can be made for at least a partial refund. Schreiber said he planned to reach out to Coby.